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AsReadOnly Method

List<T>.AsReadOnly Method

Returns a read-only IList<T> wrapper for the current collection.

Namespace:  System.Collections.Generic
Assemblies:   mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)
  System.Collections (in System.Collections.dll)

public ReadOnlyCollection<T> AsReadOnly()

Return Value

Type: System.Collections.ObjectModel.ReadOnlyCollection<T>
A ReadOnlyCollection<T> that acts as a read-only wrapper around the current List<T>.

To prevent any modifications to List<T>, expose List<T> only through this wrapper. A ReadOnlyCollection<T> does not expose methods that modify the collection. However, if changes are made to the underlying List<T>, the read-only collection reflects those changes.

This method is an O(1) operation.

The following example demonstrates the AsReadOnly method. A List<T> of strings with a capacity of 4 is created, because the ultimate size of the list is known to be exactly 4. The list is populated with four strings, and the AsReadOnly method is used to get a read-only IList<T> generic interface implementation that wraps the original list.

An element of the original list is set to "Coelophysis" using the Item property (the indexer in C#), and the contents of the read-only list are displayed again to demonstrate that it is just a wrapper for the original list.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;

public class Example
{
    public static void Main()
    {
        List<string> dinosaurs = new List<string>(4);

        Console.WriteLine("\nCapacity: {0}", dinosaurs.Capacity);

        dinosaurs.Add("Tyrannosaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Amargasaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Mamenchisaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Deinonychus");

        Console.WriteLine();
        foreach(string s in dinosaurs)
        {
            Console.WriteLine(s);
        }

        Console.WriteLine("\nIList<string> roDinosaurs = dinosaurs.AsReadOnly()");
        IList<string> roDinosaurs = dinosaurs.AsReadOnly();

        Console.WriteLine("\nElements in the read-only IList:");
        foreach(string dinosaur in roDinosaurs)
        {
            Console.WriteLine(dinosaur);
        }

        Console.WriteLine("\ndinosaurs[2] = \"Coelophysis\"");
        dinosaurs[2] = "Coelophysis";

        Console.WriteLine("\nElements in the read-only IList:");
        foreach(string dinosaur in roDinosaurs)
        {
            Console.WriteLine(dinosaur);
        }
    }
}

/* This code example produces the following output:

Capacity: 4

Tyrannosaurus
Amargasaurus
Mamenchisaurus
Deinonychus

IList<string> roDinosaurs = dinosaurs.AsReadOnly()

Elements in the read-only IList:
Tyrannosaurus
Amargasaurus
Mamenchisaurus
Deinonychus

dinosaurs[2] = "Coelophysis"

Elements in the read-only IList:
Tyrannosaurus
Amargasaurus
Coelophysis
Deinonychus
 */

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.6, 4.5, 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

XNA Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0, 1.0

.NET for Windows Phone apps

Supported in: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1, Windows Phone Silverlight 8
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